Soon, Early and Quickly

July 19, 2011

Soon means ‘a short time after now’. Get well soon. (NOT Get well early.) We will launch a new edition of this book sometime soon. Soon can also mean ‘a short time after then’. It was difficult in the beginning, but I soon got used to it. (NOT It was difficult in the beginning, but […]

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Come and Go

July 14, 2011

We use come to talk about movements to the place where the speaker or the listener is. ‘John, will you come here.’ ‘I’m coming.’ (NOT I am going.) (Here we are talking about movement to the place where the speaker / listener is.) We came to live here in 1990. (NOT We went to live […]

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Until and Till

July 2, 2011

These two words mean exactly the same. They can be used both as prepositions and conjunctions. Till is more common in an informal style. Note that in American English, the preferred informal spelling of till is ’til. I waited until 6 o’clock and then I went home. OR I waited till 6 o’clock and then […]

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Difference between below and under

June 6, 2011

Both below and under can mean ‘lower than’. The knives are in the cupboard under the sink. OR The knives are in the cupboard below the sink. Below is preferred when one thing is not directly under another. The sun disappeared below the horizon. (NOT The sun disappeared under the horizon.) The climbers stopped several […]

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Speak and Talk: Difference

May 27, 2011

There is not much difference between speak and talk. They are usually both possible in most situations. Formality Talk is less formal than speak. In fact, talk is the usual word to refer to informal communication. I want to talk to you. I think you should talk to him. I don’t know why she has […]

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Overworked words – nice and get

May 24, 2011

Write each sentence using a word from the given list in place of one in brackets. [acquired, caught, earned, coaxed, became, delicious, handsome, enjoyable, scored, kind] 1. My sister (gets) two hundred dollars a week. 2. In the first half, the winger (got) a goal. 3. While studying in Sydney, Jane (got) a strong Australian […]

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Words ending in -ic and-ical

May 16, 2011

Many adjectives end in –ic or –ical. Adjectives ending in –ic Academic, artistic, athletic, catholic, domestic, dramatic, emphatic, energetic, fantastic, linguistic, majestic, neurotic, pathetic, public, systematic, tragic In older English, some of these words used to end in –ical. Examples are: tragical and majestical. Adjectives ending in –ical Biological, chemical, critical, cynical, grammatical, logical, mathematical, […]

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Still, already and yet

May 5, 2011

All three words can be used to talk about actions or situations that are going on or expected around the present. Still Still is used to talk about situations that are still not finished. It is still raining. Is she still working? I have been waiting for hours, but I still haven’t heard anything from […]

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March 28, 2011

Rather is an adverb of degree. Its meaning is similar to quite or fairly. It is rather cold here. You are rather late. With adjectives and adverbs When rather is used with adjectives and adverbs it often suggests ideas such as ‘more than is usual’ or ‘more than was expected’. ‘How was the program?’ ‘Rather […]

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Correct usage of afraid

February 28, 2011

Afraid means ‘frightened’. Are you afraid? Afraid and fear Be afraid is more common than fear in an informal style. Don’t be afraid. (NOT Don’t fear.) There is nothing to be afraid of. I was afraid of hurting his feelings. Afraid of and afraid to Compare: I was afraid of offending his feelings. (because I […]

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